Local church hosts first honor and heritage celebration achievement award

The Greater Jonesboro Church of God In Christ held a honor and heritage program Saturday, June 5. The program was held at the Zion Travel Family Life Center in Ruston.
Honorees for 2010 include Helen P. Bryant, Harvie Johnson, and Johanna Robinson.The awards were given at the First Honor and Heritage Celebration-an event established to recognize and honor the uncommon accomplishments of area residents and commemorate the sacrifices of generations past.

The event was hosted by Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson and Dr. Nanthalia McJamerson delivered a dynamic keynote address. President Frank Pogue sent a congratulatory certificate and the Dr. Wynetta Lee, dean, College of Education, was on-hand to present a resolution from the College.

The celebration was established by the church’s Department of Public Relations pastored by Pastor Alphonse Lee and Janet D. Bryant, PR director.

Helen P. Bryant, 86, Grambling State University alumnae, was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the fields of Education, Human Relations, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Bryant was chosen as a recipient because of her uncommon accomplishments and contributions to families, communities, and churches.

In 1962, at age 38, she moved to Grambling, with her six children (ages 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, and 18 months) and enrolled in Grambling College as an Elementary Education major.

She graduated four years later with honors and went on to have a distinguished thirty-year teaching career and has been the recipient of numerous awards from individual schools, administrators, community organizations, and churches.

Bryant has impacted the lives of countless children and their families, and the sphere of her influence increases even today. As an educator, she conducted after-school, in-home visits to consult with the parents of children who were struggling academically. She stayed after school to tutor children. And she even took some children home with her on weekends to give them the intensive, one-on-one attention they needed to succeed. Her reputation as an effective teacher was so great that parents-through official channels-requested their children be assigned to her classroom.
She has taught Sunday School for over fifty years; she served as president of the Sunshine Band (ages 1-11); she helped organize and implement the tutoring program for Westside Neighborhood Church (Modesto, CA), and; she is a licensed evangelist who has preached the Gospel of Good News for thirty-eight years.

Harvie Johnson, 92, Jonesboro resident was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award.

He is the last surviving founding father of the “Deacons of Defense and Justice”-a group of mostly World War II veterans who protected Civil Rights workers from the purveyors of race-based violence and intimidation. The Deacons of Defense and Justice provided housing for CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) workers, escorted them to events, and stood guard amongst and around them day and night.

Johnson himself walked the picket line, participated in sit-ins, and challenged the system that used “testing” as a basis to deny voting rights.

Johanna Robinson was awarded the Medallion of Excellence to commemorate his high school graduation by Sandra Lee, graphic arts professor, Grambling State University.